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Solar tree Kid

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  • Solar tree Kid

    Anyone see the WSJ article on the kid with the idea for arranging solar panels in a tree like pattern? Here's the link

  • #2
    He could be on to something,afterall nothing else on Earth is more adapted to collect solar energy than Trees.
    I just need one more tool,just one!


    • #3
      I don't think that is a new concept, I am pretty sure I came across that idea many years ago in a book or article or something. He might be the first one to actually build and test though. Shading is a problem with solar and if you scaled that directly it would be a pretty massive tower for not really that many solar panels. If it produces 20% more energy but costs 10x as much to build it may not pan out.


      • #4
        Solar trees are a worthless concept untill your neighbor trys to shade you outta power

        That is why trees grow tall, to prevent from being shaded, And to shade out other life that might one day challang it.
        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


        • #5
          I just thought it was interesting & especially from a 13 year old.


          • #6
            We're in big trouble if our scientists think that mounting solar cells on a tree-like stand is going to increase efficiency. The most efficient any particular cell can be is when it's directly facing the sun, nothing shades it, and the cell temperature can remain within an optimum range. The more cells you have satisfying these conditions the more power you can extract. Start shading any of them, or angling any of them away and the potential goes down.

            I'm certainly in favor of supporting young people, but someone should bring some sense to bear in this situation. Allowing this youngster to believe that he's on to something does him no good. Sure, if the design is the goal, then it's unique and may lend an air of acceptability for a solar collector in urbania. Let that be what it may be, and good for him to come up with the idea. But if the 'breakthrough' is increased efficiency, the only way this can work is if it keeps the neighbors from destroying the collector. I suppose the 20% increase can be calculated from the reduced odds of someone trashing his system. I doubt there are even any statistics which you could use to make this calculation.

            Looks to me like the kids dad got all proud of his son for having the idea and began the hype-up, ( and paid for the materials and the welding ) then the media got in on the act and displayed their usual inanity. The woman asking the questions wasn't too bad- the guy was just an idiot.
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


            • #7
              The WSJ needs an electrician. A voltmeter does not give an accurate assessment of a solar panels output. The voltage remains almost constant, it's the amperage that varies with the light hitting it.

              I think it was a great science project, but the media needed to take a deep breath and count to ten. I am also fed up with the fascination with the Fibonacci Sequence, but that's a different rant.

              Anyhow, here's a link to an article in the Atlantic explaining the issue. I couldn't find the original blog post, but if someone else wants to search the archives, go for it.




              • #8
                I think the deal here is that the tree mounted cells are more productive than a static mounted panel of the same number of cells. I am sure the same flat panel , mounted on an active tracking mount, will far out produce the tree mount.
                James Kilroy